Is this a flaw in the science for the novel / movie "The Martian" regarding the RTG?

In both the book and movie, the marooned astronaut on Mars digs up the buried radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) too keep himself warm while driving long distances.

Why on Earth...or Mars I suppose, would they bring and bury an RTG on Mars?

The mother ship that goes from planet to planet clearly doesn't need one because they buried it on Mars.

The ship that will take the astronauts to and from the surface of Mars to the mother ship doesn't need it. It's a short-term vessel not requiring long-term power and heat.

The Mars Hab might have used it as a power and heat source, except they buried it after they got to Mars.

So why was the RTG even there in the first place? Other than as a plot device giving the astronaut a way to solve a problem?

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  • 3 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    In both the book and movie, the marooned astronaut on Mars digs up the buried radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) too keep himself warm while driving long distances.

    >> that's true, he wrote that.

    Why on Earth...or Mars I suppose, would they bring and bury an RTG on Mars?

    >>They talk about it in the book - the Mars Ascent Vehicle (the MAV), lands without fuel, and uses the Martian atmosphere to *make* fuel for the astronauts to return to orbit.  The power for that processing comes from the RTG. 

    The mother ship that goes from planet to planet clearly doesn't need one because they buried it on Mars.   

    >>The mother ship (the Ares?) used solar panels. 

    The ship that will take the astronauts to and from the surface of Mars to the mother ship doesn't need it. It's a short-term vessel not requiring long-term power and heat. 

    >>They landed in a Mars Lander, and it was left on the surface.  (We never saw that...) and, I agree - it wasn't used in the ML. 

    The Mars Hab might have used it as a power and heat source, except they buried it after they got to Mars. 

    >>The Hab used solar panels as well - placed by human hands outside the Hab. 

    So why was the RTG even there in the first place? Other than as a plot device giving the astronaut a way to solve a problem?

    >>It was there to power the fuel processing for the MAV only.  When they landed, it was fully fueled, so the RTG was no longer needed.

  • D g
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    The Mars Ascent Vehicle in "The Martian" is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), which converts the heat of the radioactive decay of plutonium-238 into electricity. This RTG is buried a safe distance away from the pioneers' living quarters.Aug 25, 2015

    ITS   radio active what  do you  think they will do with it    put it next to  their  crotch  come on

    the  reason he dug it up  he NEEDED  it  for power   the heat might have been a secondary  issue   THE ONLY FLAW is your thinking 

  • 2 weeks ago

    It would be a safety Measure

     A way to get Back

    Like a Lifeboat for a Marooned sailor

    News Latest..... Two Tanker ships have collided in the English Channel..… One was carrying a cargo of red paint, the Other blue

    Both Crews have been Marooned !!

    Source(s): I'll go now
  • Bill-M
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    The RTG was part of a previous mission. So when they came back to set up the Hab, they cleaned up the mess left behind by the previous visitors.

    Don't assume they were the first ones to visit Mars. There were others prior to setting up that HAB.

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  • Nyx
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    There are several plot holes within the Martian. The hurricane force winds that force the team to abandon the outpost in the first place simply don't happen on Mars - the atmosphere is too thin.

    And if the MAV was tipping over due to the wind, why was the other MAV that Watney escaped to not affected by high winds?

    The oxygenator is really a CO2 scrubber that's been common on crewed spacecraft, and submarines for decades. The author (Andy Weir) simply didn't know that, and it the device up.

    Weir also didn't know (since it wasn't well known when the book was written) that subsurface water ice can be plentiful on Mars, but needs to be treated to remove all the embedded salts.

    Using the crew's biological waste to grow crops can be hazardous. There might of been unknown biome material that may of infected Watney. 

    Still for all its small flaws, 'The Martian' is still a great movie. It's far more accurate with its science then most other space movies.

     

    • Zirp
      Lv 7
      2 weeks agoReport

      "There might of been unknown biome material that may of infected Watney".  English please!

  • 3 weeks ago

    Well, you are starting with fantasy, that means writers can make logic of anything they choose.

    Gives one the perception that some long ago Martian life used such RTG.

    "Red Planet" where the hell did the nematodes come from?

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